In 132 ballots submitted by AP members and subscribers, Adele easily outpaced other vote-getters like Taylor Swift, "Fifty Shades of Grey" author E.L. James, the South Korean viral video star Psy and the cast of "Twilight." Editors and broadcasters were asked to cast their ballot for the person who had the most influence on entertainment and culture in 2012.
Adele's year began in triumph at the Grammys, took a turn through recording the theme to the 007 film "Skyfall," and ended with the birth of her son in October. The ubiquitous Adele was that rare thing in pop culture: an unqualified sensation, a megastar in a universe of niche hits.
By the end of the year, her sophomore album, "21," had passed 10 million copies sold in the U.S., only the 21st album in the Nielsen SoundScan era (begun in 1991) to achieve diamond status. Buoyed by hits like "Someone Like You" and "Rolling in the Deep" long after its release in early 2011, "21" was also the top-selling album on iTunes for the second year running.
As David Panian, news editor for Michigan's Daily Telegram, put it: "It just seemed like you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing one of her songs."
The Grammy Awards in February were the de-facto crowning of the 24-year-old Adele, whose real name is Adele Adkins, as a pop queen. She won six awards, including album of the year. It was also a comeback of sorts for Adele, who performed for the first time since having vocal cord surgery, drawing a standing ovation from the Staples Center crowd.
Accepting the album of the year award, a teary Adele exclaimed: "Mum, girl did good!" The emotional, sniffling singer endeared many viewers to her when she copped in her acceptance speech to having "a bit of snot."
"This record is inspired by something that is really normal and everyone's been through it: just a rubbish relationship," said Adele.
But her luck in love has since turned, thanks to her boyfriend Simon Konecki. In an interview with Vogue magazine, Adele said she was through with breakup records and done being "a bitter witch." When Adele announced in June that she was having a baby with Konecki, her website promptly crashed under the heavy traffic. Their son was born in October.
With such an avalanche of success and now a mother of a newborn son, Adele has understandably taken a step out of the spotlight. One notable exception was recording the opening credits theme song to "Skyfall.
2012: The year in review
- Newtown voted top news story
- 2012 weather proves disaster for deniers and nation as whole
- 2012 was year of storms, real and emotional
- Styles that made our heads turn
- Adele is chosen as entertainer of year
- Top business story in '12: Sluggish global economy
- 10 things that happened in 2012 that have never happened before
- Year in review: Bankruptcy dominates San Bernardino life
- 2012: A year in San Bernardino County
- Ontario reaches key milestones in airport battle
- 2012: A look back at Inland Valley news
- A look back at San Bernardino-area sports in 2012
- A look back at Inland Valley sports in 2012
- Redlands community saw many ups, downs in 2012
- Redlanders who made a difference died in 2012
"There was an overwhelming embrace of Adele and her music," said Joe Butkiewicz, executive editor of the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. "And that was never more evident to me than when I heard teenagers express their enthusiastic expectations for the new James Bond movie because Adele performed the theme song."
The song recently received a Golden Globe nomination. No Bond theme has ever won the best original song Oscar, but given Adele's awards success thus far, it wouldn't be a stretch to think she has a chance of changing that. The tune is among the 75 short-listed songs in the Academy Awards category.